update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

2,200 Jews ascend Temple Mount since start of Passover

Tensions remain high at the holy site after Muslim rioters who had barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa mosque clashed with police.

Israeli security personnel stand guard as Jews visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, July 18, 2021. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Israeli security personnel stand guard as Jews visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, July 18, 2021. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

More than 2,200 Jews have ascended Temple Mount, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, since Passover began on April 5.

Of those, some 1,200 visited Judaism’s holiest site on Monday, Israeli officials said.

Tensions remain high at the holy site after Israeli police on the first night of Passover arrested more than 350 Muslim rioters who had barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site is located atop the Temple Mount.

The rioters, who had smuggled fireworks, clubs and stones into the mosque, blocked the doors from inside using iron rods, closets and other objects. They chanted inciting slogans, and threw stones and shot fireworks at police.

Police attempted to convince the rioters to leave the site peaceably and when that failed were forced to enter.

On Saturday night, hundreds of Muslims again barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa, preventing people from praying and attempting to provoke a response from Israeli security services. However, police did not enter the building to clear out the extremists.

Instead, Israel’s Foreign Ministry called on Amman, through the Waqf Islamic trust tasked with safeguarding Muslim sites on the Temple Mount, to take action against the extremists.

The tweet was in response to an earlier Jordanian Foreign Ministry announcement accusing Israel of violating the status quo on the Mount and warning of “catastrophic consequences” if Israel continued its “violations.” The statement said that Israel bore responsibility for any escalation.

The spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, Sinan al-Majali, said that the entire 37 acres of the Temple Mount were “a pure place of worship for Muslims,” the Petra news agency reported.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted by Petra as saying that “Israeli provocations will turn the [Temple Mount] courtyards into battlefields.”

Nevertheless, on Sunday thousands of Jewish worshippers packed the Western Wall Plaza, located directly below the Temple Mount, for the Passover priestly blessing.

Twice annually, during Passover and during Sukkot, a mass priestly blessing is held at the site, attended by thousands of Jews.

During 2022, 51,483 Jews visited the Temple Mount, up from 34,651 in 2021 and 20,684 in 2020, according to statistics compiled by Beyadenu, an NGO dedicated to strengthening the Jewish connection to the holy site.

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